marrazzi tile nightmare [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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07-08-2011, 02:22 PM
I gotta cut a hole for a mixer valve in this tile. I can't even get halfway without it breaking its a cheap home depot tile. What do I do? I only have 3 left.

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07-08-2011, 02:31 PM
stop cutting a hole and make X's from the back out to the front.

07-08-2011, 02:35 PM
Using a grinder or saw? Its a big hole I need to make.

07-08-2011, 02:39 PM
use a grinder and cut a square, then once you have that out cut
the angle to make the circle.

cut slower to when making the first square, don't force it let the blade drop in


irish tileguy in michigan
07-08-2011, 02:44 PM
Also try a new blade

07-08-2011, 02:49 PM
if your grinder is breaking it try cleaning the grinder blade on a cinder block or concrete.
might be hopping or vibrating a little and causing the tile to crack.

Jim Farrell Tiler
07-08-2011, 03:45 PM
just leave that tile out and grout it, sheel be right mate

07-08-2011, 04:07 PM
If it's a cheap HD tile, go buy 10 extras :bonk:

jk... It always sucks when that happens. Sometimes taping the tile up to help with vibration, cleaning or using a new blade, using the wetsaw instead of grinder. Cutting a square on the back and then an 'X' into the square, corner to corner usually works best for me. Clean it up with grinder if necessary.

07-08-2011, 04:08 PM
mist it with a sprayer

Levi the Tile Guy
07-08-2011, 04:09 PM
That stuff is a nightmare. I have set some Marrazi that varied a good 1/8" in size on 12x12 tiles.

For your hole I would trace the circle and lightly grind the surface just to kinda score it. Then grind an x from the back like Brian said. Then another x, then more and more lines until each little piece breaks off at your score then once again from the back grind it sideways to clean it up.

Raymond S
07-08-2011, 04:55 PM
Cutting the tile on a piece of wet, mushy Sheetrock or a scrap piece of styrofoam insulation can also help reduce the dreaded vibration. I generally cut it like Levi said, although Brian's suggestion may be even better.

Mountain Tile
07-08-2011, 05:15 PM
Sometimes on brittle tile like that I cover the whole back of the tile with mesh tape, coat with thinset, let dry, next day cut the hole. If it can't wait til next day, coat with fast set.

07-08-2011, 05:45 PM
I mark a square hole on the front and back, then go around it lightly with the grinder on both sides. Then I cut the X's in the back till they slightly show and finish them on the front.

I find an older grinder bit that has worn fairly smooth works best.

Chad Deiter Company
07-08-2011, 06:06 PM
How close to the edge of the tile is the hole. Sometimes the whole corner will come off

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc
07-08-2011, 06:52 PM
:idea: Why not cut a small hole in it - just enough for it to fit over the center part of the valve that sticks out and set it.

Come back tomorrow and grind out the rest of it in place. :)

Mountain Tile
07-08-2011, 06:53 PM
I had one I couldnt cut without breaking, it was an outlet in the middle of the tile. I split it, glued back together, then put drywall screws in the outlet.:D

tile dummy
07-08-2011, 07:20 PM
I will cut like raymond said but will lay tile on a peice of carpet padding and it hasn't let me down yet.What is an installer of your caliber doing installing home cheapo tile.

07-08-2011, 07:21 PM
Jim that is a good idea man, i dont know if I can cut a hole in it, I had to cut everything on the saw, nothing on the hand cutter. Stuff was so cheapo porcelain.

If you watch that video does anyone know if they make a small diamond wheel like that for tile like he is using on the concrete to make all those leaves?

Levi the Tile Guy
07-08-2011, 07:23 PM
problem with grinding in place is your waterproofing. and if you can't get it set on plain you sure aren't going to pop it off the wall w/o breaking it.

Greg - you damn hack :lol2:

Chad Deiter Company
07-08-2011, 07:29 PM
The key will be getting some type of hole in it first. Then you can work that hole or square slowly to the size you need.

07-08-2011, 07:30 PM
I hate marazzi tile, aka Rango

Chad Deiter Company
07-08-2011, 07:34 PM
Derrick I've only not been able to cut that tile if the whole needs to be close to the edge. All other ones after a few have been made

coping skills
07-08-2011, 07:58 PM
I always clamp tile down to the work bench and set the grinder fast enough that it doesn't bounce, but slow enough that it doesn't grab.

I've used drywall screws to hold the switch to the box before, never on the switch plate though...oh, alright, I did it North Minneapolis...same house where I caulked a tub with painter's caulk...:D

07-08-2011, 08:00 PM
the hole was close to the edge. I broke 2 i go back tomorrow to try and finish it

Houston Remodeler
07-08-2011, 08:24 PM
What about epoxying some kerdi to the back side?

Chad Deiter Company
07-08-2011, 08:51 PM
Hate to say it Derrick but if it's close to the edge you might have to " Gregify " it and call it done.

Levi the Tile Guy
07-08-2011, 08:58 PM
How close to the edge, and how big is the trim? could you purposely cut a small relief area in the edge that would be covered then proceed to make your cut out?

07-08-2011, 09:49 PM
Instead of cutting the square like others have mentioned, I cut a + in it to give it some relief then start the circle. I fit's vibrating too much, lay a piece of ditra under it when you cut it, I've had success with that before.
That's funny, I just finished a job yesterday with that crap and had a hell of a time cutting the hole for the toilet. Good luck!

07-08-2011, 10:52 PM
Rick I had a shower about 4 years ago where the valve fell right in the center of a tile, and it was one of those impossible to cuts.

I tried everything that has been mentioned on here, even spent 100 dollars on a new blade.

After losing some sleep I cut it in half, cut out the valve and pieced it together on the wall while cringing. No one ever said a thing.

Since then I have found that if you try one from another box sometimes you get lucky and it was anodized better.

Chad Deiter Company
07-09-2011, 07:16 AM
I've honestly never had any issues with this tile. Sizing has been good and I have tile that's $4 a foot not be able to cut a whole in it too. All in all it's not too bad. I did a showroom for a glass company in town 3 showers of it not one issue. I wonder what the difference is now.

Levi the Tile Guy
07-09-2011, 07:20 AM
Probably a different tile Chad. Marazzi is a brand name, not one specific line of tile. I believe most all of it is cheap, but I would guess they still have different qualities

07-09-2011, 07:21 AM
Rick, do you have a Rotozip? I would try the X-Bit Floor bit.

Marazzi used to be pretty good tile. I recently did a job with some 12x12 and 6x6 Marazzi. The 6x6 were just cut down 12x12's with no attempt whatsoever to make a factory edge on the cuts. Sizing was horrible.

Chad Deiter Company
07-09-2011, 07:25 AM
Have any of you guys had luck with that RotoZip bit. I couldn't get it to cut porcelain at all. I think for Dal ceramic it's probably okay. Only thing I rotozip now is the tile behind where outlet cover screws go. It's fast and works great for that.

07-09-2011, 07:27 AM
marrazzi does make some good tile. it is not sold at home depot.
home depot gets the seconds,the flaws, and the cheap stuff.

I just went through this same problem with a different home depot tile.
took 8 tries and a new blade to get the toilet hole cut out.
as I was spreading glue, I heard a ping. the tile broke while sitting flat on the floor with nothing touching it.
it was split and installed in 2 pieces. toilet will cover, but I still was mad, cost that much time, and a box of tile, to put in a 2 piece cut.:cry:
hacked it

Chad Deiter Company
07-09-2011, 07:29 AM
I love when you mark a cut out and the first thing you say is " That's gonna break " :D

Levi the Tile Guy
07-09-2011, 07:34 AM
but then when it doesn't you say "Damn I am surgical with that sob"

Chad Deiter Company
07-09-2011, 07:38 AM
As you step on it :D

07-09-2011, 07:48 AM
Have any of you guys had luck with that RotoZip bit. I couldn't get it to cut porcelain at all. I think for Dal ceramic it's probably okay. Only thing I rotozip now is the tile behind where outlet cover screws go. It's fast and works great for that.

Chad, the floor bit will cut the hardest porcelain, but it doesn't work like a regular bit, and it's certainly not fast. Watch the video (it won't let me link directly to the video, scroll down, it's third up from the bottom on the right hand side) "Cutting Floor Tile".

I cut out a hole in the middle and close to the edge of some American Florim Navajo series ( tile the other day. That is some haaaaard shiite.

07-09-2011, 07:52 AM
marrazzi does make some good tile. it is not sold at home depot.
home depot gets the seconds,the flaws, and the cheap stuff.

The Marazzi I recently installed wasn't from HD, it was from a wholesale flooring supplier.

I have installed some very nice Marazzi tile from HD in the past.

Chad Deiter Company
07-09-2011, 07:56 AM
I watched that that video seems like it would take forever to cut a mixing valve hole.

07-09-2011, 08:01 AM
I watched that that video seems like it would take forever to cut a mixing valve hole.

It does, probably about five minutes or so. It's not the "go to" tool for every hole, but it's a good one to have in your arsenal. ;)

Chad Deiter Company
07-09-2011, 08:16 AM
Wonder if that would work for Derricks problem

07-09-2011, 08:22 AM
That's what I was hoping. :D

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc
07-09-2011, 08:49 AM
Rick, can't you just cut a square hole coming through the back of it with a grinder?

edit: I realize as I'm asking this question, he's three hours ahead of me and it's close to lunch time for him. He's probably already done whatever what he needed to do to make it work.

07-09-2011, 08:54 AM
Some porcelains simply will not allow you to cut too close to the edge, no matter what blade you use. I have even gone so far as to mark a tile for a floor register and set the tile, then cut out the hole after the mortar has cured. Unfortunately, that's not an option for a mixing valve.

07-09-2011, 09:28 AM
Since then I have found that if you try one from another box sometimes you get lucky and it was anodized better. Do tell us more about them anodized tiles, Jason. :)

07-09-2011, 12:02 PM
Are you talking about the annealing point?

We have had on several occasions where a tile just could not be center cut. Tried everything possible: new blades, new grinders, water/no water, tile on sand in a plastic tote with water, on sheetrock or carpet, holes saws, different mechanics. Just didnt matter!

Even when we had the tile cut and set on wall it would snap as it was drying. The architect saw the problem and accepted a split cut.

Using scrim and epoxy might do the trick.

07-09-2011, 12:12 PM
Line removed. Please learn to make comments that don't begin with (this manufacturer) sucks.

The cut is centered in the tile and close to the bottom edge. Its a tough cut. I am going to epoxy something to the tiles a few days before I do the cut and then try to cut it, maybe kerdi or meshtape or maybe skim it with 254.

07-09-2011, 01:35 PM
Rick have you tried to drill several holes around the perimeter of the cut. Doesn't make the fanciest of circles. Then use the grinder on slow speed to clean it up to clear the valve.

07-09-2011, 01:37 PM

The only bits I drill with are core bits I don't know how they will handle it, I am going to flash 3 with meshtape and 254 let them sit and cut them. Its in a bad spot on the tile.

07-09-2011, 02:13 PM
Rick, this problem has been explained a few times. Once a few years ago and just a few months ago.

It all has to do with a poor anneal of the tile.

Explained in this thread

poorly annealed tiles / fun with smilies

Okay guys, here is my 10 cents worth from my experience as a glass carver. I think what many of you are describing is tile that, for whatever reason, hasn’t been properly annealed during the manufacturing process. In those large commercial outfits, the tiles are fired in huge conveyor-belt ovens that carry the tiles through a spray glaze-coating process, then to a slow heat-up process to firing temperature and then through a very slow cool-down zone to anneal the tiles. Just like making glass. In fact glass is ceramic since the technical definition for “ceramic” is any product made from inorganic materials with non-metallic properties processed at high temperature during manufacture. If it doesn’t cool down at a VERY slow rate, the exterior of the glass cools at a faster rate than the interior, creating an internal tension that remains in a “stressed” state forever. Let me repeat that . . . forever. It will look exactly the same as any other glass (or ceramic), but can break very easily, sometimes even spontaneously. Glass artists who make expensive collectable beads will tell you that their beads can just fracture sitting on the shelf, even months after fabrication if not properly annealed. There used to be a video on glass annealing here - Back to the tile issue—those annealing ovens are a certain length and for then to work properly tiles must be fed into them at a continuous rate 24 hours for the temp to remain stable. If the line ever stops, equilibrium must be reached again and if the physical length of the annealing oven doesn’t match the kind of tile being processed then it will be “brittle” and NO way of cutting it, including water jet will be 100% successful. Even if there is a successful cut, the tile can spontaneously break days or weeks after successful cutting (!) . . . those “tink” experiences some have described . And the larger the tile, the more time it takes to anneal it. Very large pieces of glass must sometimes be annealed over a period of days, weeks or even months(!) to remove the internal tension from the creation process. That isn’t going to happen in a high-volume production line and it could be that these types/sizes of tiles are operating on the margin of their manufacturing capability. When we are carving tempered glass (which is intentionally made brittle to shatter into tiny pieces for safety), if we cut too deeply into the glass (more than 10% of the thickness) the stresses will transmit through the cut and the glass will shatter. Many the poor glass art-carver has finished a beautiful work that took hours or perhaps days and left it in his shop on the table only to return the next day to a pile of tiny glass pebbles. To do that kind of work, the carving must be done and then the glass taken to a fabricator to be tempered afterward. So . . . to finally get to the point , it’s likely that NO kind of cutting will guarantee that the tile will remain intact, even after it is put on the wall . . . no amount of thinset, epoxy, etc will relieve the internal stresses inherent to the glass/ceramic fabrication. You could completely encase it in thinset, and it could still spontaneously break. But, if the job will pay for it, you could seek out a competent ceramic or glass artist (a glass blower would be ideal), maybe even a potter, in your area and have them anneal the tile for you in their computer-controlled kilns. If they don't understand what you're talking about, leave immediately. Or anybody who offers heat-treat services, maybe a local knifemaker. Without the material annealing temperature curves, it would be a guess, but longer is always better. Maybe they might have a big piece of their own that they could piggy-back your tile with to anneal for several days and that would likely do it. If the glaze didn’t shift colors during the re-firing, then you could cut the tile with some degree of confidence that it would not fracture after installation (better have them do several!). If nothing else, use this information to spread a lot of BS to the customer explaining your way out of the problem. How’re they gonna argue with that? Once you tell them a successful cut can fracture later, maybe they’ll agree to that controlled break/re-glue you’ve offered.

07-09-2011, 02:38 PM
Jason, aka Java

I know this but what good is that when I got to make this cut

07-09-2011, 02:49 PM
Yeah I had a long day in the sun, it was annealing I was thinking of... Sorry

And no it doesn't do you a bit of good when you get a crappy batch of tile, like I said rick I have had a couple jobs like this and I tried everything including skimming the back ect. Sometimes they are just too brittle.

TRy some tile from another box

07-09-2011, 03:11 PM
The placement in the kiln, the batch from one firing to the next can make a difference . Has anyone else but me had cut a tile and found the center of a tile a strange bluish purple streak . The clay was over fired and robed carbon from the clay body .
Or ever cut just about through a tile and had the cut just about close at the start of the cut ?
Once even had a tank of a just newly installed toilet crack after cold water had sat in it for a short time . Sure it was not from over cranking down on the tank because the crack opened up over a inch wide before
my eyes . Stress in a clay body can do funny things .
Hope this one cut works out for you and you can move on :)

07-09-2011, 03:15 PM
I had some tile like this once.Cut a 1 inch strip, lay it down and a minute later it would go CLINK and break in half,veryy spooky.I tried soaking them in water,backbuttering,new blades,even made a jig and used clamps.
The soaking and clamps worked best.Try water as you cut it.

tile dummy
07-09-2011, 03:19 PM
William,that was a good peice of info. Thanks man.

07-09-2011, 03:20 PM
Well, the only thing it does for you is let you off the hook.

You got some tile that isn't gona allow you to cut a hole in it. Been there myself.

It drove me nuts trying to perform a miracle but now that I know that's what I was truly trying to do I just shrugged it off the next few times and left it up to higher powers: the GC or HO or tile store to fix it. I don't have much hair left to pull out so it's either get me a batch that is properly annealed, re-fire one of the impossible tiles or it's getting put up with a cutting board crack.

Levi the Tile Guy
07-09-2011, 04:03 PM
I have had tile that is hard to cut, even burned through enough trying to run short, but eventually you will get it. If you have a few days to wait until you need it does that mean you haven't started yet? If not shift your layout so the cut is centered in a grout joint, would look better that a tile split down the middle. Or keep getting pissed and wasting time but eventually you will get one.

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc
07-10-2011, 08:21 AM
Wow, that William guy has the best explanation I've heard for the reason it breaks easily.

And he's right, even when you make the cut, I've had them break after they've been installed.

There's always a water jet?

07-11-2011, 08:35 PM
yo rick! showed up to an estimate today, H.O already bought the tile.....:D:D:D

John K
07-15-2011, 05:15 AM

How did you end up cutting the tile?

coping skills
07-15-2011, 07:37 AM
Run Forest, RUN!

08-01-2011, 02:12 PM
I made the cut finally I used the zipper blade on my grinder took my time taped the tile with blue tape and I bought a different lot.

08-01-2011, 03:59 PM
Just went through that myself with some "Rango". After several unsuccessful tries, I cut the hole as small as possible to fit it over the valve. Went back a few days later to cut it in place. Guess what, it cracked then. Luckily, the cracks are so faint I don't think anyone will notice but me, but dang, what a :bang: moment.

What is it about Marazzi/Ragno tile? Only once in a blue moon do they break on a snap cutter and God help you if there's a cut out in the middle...

08-01-2011, 04:03 PM
Rango and Marazzi are the same over here, both not good. I showed Brian a piece of the marazzi 2 weeks ago when we met for steaks and he said the marazzi he gets in Florida is a much better quality.

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc
08-01-2011, 04:45 PM
Should have used a heat gun. :D

08-01-2011, 05:23 PM
Should have used a heat gun.and a razor knife ! :D

I showed Brian a piece of the marazzi 2 weeks ago when we met for steaks and he said the marazzi he gets in Florida is a much better quality. yeah that stuff you had looked like some cheaper stuff.
the stuff sold here at HD from Marazzi is called "Montagna" and doesn't look like that.
I do like the Marazzi Montagna line (

unless they make another cheaper type and I dont let customers buy it.

Levi the Tile Guy
08-01-2011, 05:35 PM
Aren't there numerous lines? I have installed some very mechanic friendly Marazzi and some not so.

08-01-2011, 05:48 PM

That was the tile I showed you except it was this color.

08-01-2011, 06:58 PM
I have used all the other colors except for that one.
it did look cheap and brittle when you showed it to me.

08-01-2011, 07:40 PM
its cheap look at this stuff

Would anyone install that mosaic??

08-01-2011, 07:46 PM
I have used it on a shower floor . Had to hand pick the sheets and still had to cut them apart

08-01-2011, 07:47 PM
that's crazy, I have seen some that are chipped on the 2x2's. some think that's the look.
I have installed the Belluno, Cortina and Lugano and haven't had any problems.

08-01-2011, 08:36 PM

I bought a heat gun today they are expensive!

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc
08-01-2011, 10:20 PM
I'm telling you, I bought mine at Harbor Freight for $13.00, and it worked the one time I needed it.

I don't know what tile guys do with them except cut VCT and remove epoxy grout. :yipee: